Maureen Renfro's Blog: Palestinians Attack Nigeria For Abstention In UN Vote

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Palestinians Attack Nigeria For Abstention In UN Vote

Nigeria's abstention from the United Nations vote on Palestinian statehood this week has been sharply attacked by the Palestinian representative to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the collective voice of the Muslim world.

Both Nigeria, the population of which is evenly split between Muslims and Christians, and the Palestinian Authority are among the organization's 57 member states.

Palestinian OIC representative Muhannad al-Akluk blasted Nigeria in a  statement on Wednesday, saying its abstention on Palestine, despite being a member of the OIC, was a "clear contradiction" and violated numerous resolutions passed at the Islamic organization's summits in  support of Palestine, Ma'an news agency reported.

He called on the OIC to deal internally with what he termed the "unacceptable" contradiction of a member state abstaining from the vote while European states voted in favor of the resolution.

While the stance of the United Stance against the resolution was not a  surprise, Al-Akluk said, Nigeria's abstention from voting was a "shock" and a disappointment for Palestinians.

The OIC itself also expressed deep regret at the failure of the UN Security Council to approve the Arab draft resolution seeking a three-year timeframe to end Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories.

OIC Secretary-General Iyad Amin Madani said in a statement that the OIC was astounded by the reasoning of the countries that rejected the draft resolution.

Those countries, he said, had forgotten that the Palestinians have spent more than 20 years at the negotiating table while Israel expanded settlements throughout the West Bank.

Nigeria's relations with Israel have grown closer during the tenure of President Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian. The president has twice visited Israel, the last being in October, when the two countries signed  an agreement for direct air travel between them.

After the kidnapping of several hundred schoolgirls by Boko Haram last year, Israel sent anti-terror experts to participate in the search for  them.